Better Safe Than Sorry: The Dangers of Black Hat SEO
In the world of business, results matter. We want the most effective solutions, and we want them to work quickly. It comes as no surprise, then, that many businesses think that they can go from internet obscurity to the first page of a search engine in a single day. This rushed ideology leads some businesses to employ (or seek out companies to employ) what are known as Black Hat SEO practices to find a quick fix.
Think of black hat SEO techniques like a very dishonest job applicant. The applicant really wants the job, but does not want to take the time to learn relevant skills before applying. Instead, he lists skills on his resume that he does not have and lists his friends as professional references to lie about his skills, believing that he can develop them later once he lands the job. When his thinly veiled techniques become apparent to the employer, however, he loses any hope of attaining the position.
Black hat SEO works in much the same way. When companies try to rapidly get their websites to the first page of search engines, they often turn to illicit techniques that are frowned upon by Google, Bing, and Yahoo!. Bombarding blog posts with artificial comments, purchasing backlinks (links from other websites) from unrelated outside sources, or even having artificial pages on a website loaded with keywords are black hat techniques are likely to get a website blacklisted from major search engines.
Slow and Steady Wins the Race – Say no to Black Hat SEO
Think of white hat SEO as the job applicant who takes invests her time in developing skills to make herself shine in the job market. Her stellar work ethic gets rave reviews from those for whom she works, gaining her host of positive references. The persistence of her efforts is evident to the employer and she easily lands the job.
Similarly, the power of white hat SEO is that it is done organically. Building a website’s search engine rankings naturally may take longer than by using black hat SEO techniques, but the result is always safer, more effective, and a boost to a company’s reputation.
The first step to optimizing a website for organic search is to create quality, engaging content. While keyword jamming is great for getting your website higher on a search engine page, it can often fail to engage users appropriately. When users read enjoyable content, they are more likely to share it. Apart from the obvious benefit of increased exposure, your page gains popularity and relevancy because of these shares.
Further, your content-based website is more likely to gain backlinks from reputable, related sources. When a search engine deems a website to be trustworthy, their links to your website increase your own search engine trust rating. Search engines highly favor the pages with these strong ratings. It is also pivotal to ensure that meta descriptions, title tags, alt tags, and heading elements are both user-friendly and carefully written for search engines.
Even the best writing amounts to little if the website code is not primed for SEO. Websites have to be able to be easily analyzed by search engine “spiders” or “crawlers” that analyze the format of your site, the utility of links, load speed, and a host of other code-related factors.
A Delicate Balance, Staying Away From Black Hat SEO
If it seems the line between black hat SEO and white hat SEO practices is very fine, it’s because it is. Every aspect of a website— from code to text has to be chosen and crafted carefully to optimize for SEO. Search engine optimizers must navigate their way through a complicated juggling act to get a website on the first page of a search engine. Finding just the right balance between solid, user-friendly copy and the keyword-heavy text that search engine spiders love can be a challenge. It takes years of experience to be able to find the perfect balance.
Whether you are sitting down to write website copy on your own or are looking into hiring professionals like The Ad Company, make sure that your website is being created and optimized organically. While the lure of quick and inexpensive results may be strong, resist the temptation to utilize black hat SEO techniques. Building up an online presence of integrity and quality should be at the forefront of any business strategy, which can only be done through white hat SEO.